Gael García Bernal is unrecognizable as real-life gay wrestler ‘Cassandro’ in new biopic

Gael García Bernal in Cassandro
Gael García Bernal in Cassandro

The first image (pictured above) is out of Gael García Bernal as the flamboyant wrestler, Cassandro. The 52-year-old luchador’s real name is Saúl Armendáriz. He made a name for himself as the so-called “Liberace of Lucha Libre.”

Cassandro’s life story is coming to screens courtesy of Oscar-winning documentary maker Roger Ross Williams. The simply titled Cassandro is a scripted movie starring the Mexican-born García Bernal.

The American-born Armendáriz grew up near the U.S.-Mexican border in El Paso, Texas. He later moved to Mexico to pursue his dreams of becoming a ‘luchador’.

Related: Meet Cassandro, Mexico’s Lucha Libre drag queen superstar

Armendáriz was initially fearful that being openly gay would kill his career hopes. However, similar to WWF in the US, Mexican luchador are known for their larger-than-life personalities.

Armendáriz decided to turn his sexuality into his unique selling point in the ultra-macho world of Mexican wrestling. His personality also helps to win over audiences.

He went on to become an NWA World Welterweight and UWA World Lightweight Champion. Cassandro still wrestles occasionally today on the independent circuits.

The movie’s synopsis reads, “Saúl Armendáriz, a gay amateur wrestler from El Paso, rises to international stardom after he creates the ‘exotico’ character Cassandro, the ‘Liberace of Lucha Libre.’ In the process, he upends not just the macho wrestling world, but also his own life.”

García Bernal is known for his performances in The Motorcycle Diaries and M. Night Shyamalan’s recent flick, Old. On TV, he’s appeared in Werewolf By Night, Mozart in the Jungle, and Station Eleven.

Cassandro will stream on Prime Video in 2023.

In the meantime, check out the trailer for the 2018 documentary Cassandro the Exotico! below…